George Heartwell, mayor of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has sent a postcard to Catholic voters that shows a picture of a local Catholic church on the front and the names of seven local Catholic leaders on the back. The mayor is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and an abortion-rights advocate. One of his challengers, city commissioner Rick Tormala, is a Catholic pro-life advocate; he labels the Heartwell tactic “insulting and deceptive.”
Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented as follows:
“I have never met either Heartwell or Tormala, but it is clear that in this instance Tormala’s complaint is valid. Even if Heartwell were Catholic and pro-life, it would smack of demagoguery for him to sell himself to Catholics in such a crass manner. But the fact that he is the darling of the pro-abortion community makes his ploy all the more despicable.
“The fact that Heartwell has enlisted a small band of ‘social justice’ Catholics—men and women whose interest in soup kitchens always trumps their interest in crisis pregnancy centers—means nothing. At the end of the day, religious profiling is unacceptable. Heartwell has crossed the line and should end his pandering immediately.”